For this project women in Uganda pool their resources to tackle climate-related issues while improving their own lives. “Saving to save the family-community-environment women initiative” enables rural communities to build water catchment systems, increase access solar energy and plant fruit trees. This activity taps existing networks to respond to climate-related changes and increase quality of life.
- 10 solar lanterns bought
- 2 water harvesting tanks installed, benefitting 120 people
In Uganda’s Luweero district, streams and boreholes have been drying out, making communities vulnerable to water scarcity. The region lacks water distribution infrastructure and connection to electrical grids. Due to its location in the tropics, Uganda has much potential for solar energy production. Indeed, solar lanterns are available on the market, but economic constraints limit individual community members from accessing them.
This project was initiated and is implemented by women. It bridges financial and infrastructural gaps through resource pooling. Traditionally, women’s groups – or niginas – save money to buy household goods or start minor income-generating activities. Through this project, niginas are being tapped to fund activities like constructing rainwater harvest tanks, acquiring solar lanterns, and planting trees. Aside from using the tanks for everyday needs like drinking and cooking, communities are also utilizing the harvested rainwater for small-scale irrigation.
Helping the planet
Harvesting rainwater reduces the communities’ reliance on streams and boreholes, allowing the water sources to replenish and preserving natural resources. Solar lanterns provide a light source that is environmentally friendly. Tree-planting sequesters carbon from the atmosphere while stabilizing the soil and increasing the land’s capacity to hold water.
The community has gained a clean, easily accessible water source. Women and children save time and energy by not having to fetch water from afar. This saves time that people can instead devote to income-generating activities or studying. They are also saving money they would have spent on kerosene for lighting. Similarly, they are able to sell harvested fruit from the planted trees. Thus, the fruit-bearing trees help to improve food security. Less use of kerosene for lighting also translates into cleaner and healthier indoor spaces free of smoke and soot.
Activity organizers plan to expand the project to 1,000 members in the years ahead. They will continue to partner with existing women’s self-help groups, sensitizing these groups to climate change issues, enabling the project to grow.
Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.